Privacy and data protection in e-commerce in developing nations: evaluation of different data protection approaches

The emergence of e-commerce has brought about many benefits to a country’s economy and individuals, but the openness of the Internet has given rise misuse of personal data. Several countries have enacted legislation and procedures to protect the information privacy of their citizens and corporations. However, many developing countries, such as Nigeria are yet to enact any procedures, despite the high level of identity theft and online fraud. Different approaches to data privacy and protection are found in different countries. These can be generally categorised as the self-regulation approach, as used in the United States and the government approach, as used in the United Kingdom. This paper investigates the reasons why developed countries adopt any particular system for data protection. The paper evaluates these data protection approaches to determine its applicability in developing nations, using Nigeria as a case study. This is done by identifying the issues affecting data protection in the developing country and then evaluating the approaches’ dispute resolution, enforcement and compliance monitoring processes for their applicability in the case of Nigeria. Benchmarks developed by the Australian government for Industry-Based Customer Dispute Resolution Schemes provide a suitable mechanism for evaluation.